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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

Montejaque – an example of the internationalisation of Andalucía
Wednesday, April 12, 2023 @ 11:16 AM

Many towns and villages in Andalucía have a significant foreign population. Attracted by the climate, relaxed lifestyle, and lower cost-of-living, over the course of three or four decades, thousands of people from other countries have either emigrated or bought holiday homes here in southern Spain.

Places like Mijas, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Marbella, Torremolinos, San Pedro de Alcántara, Estepona, Nerja and Frigiliana all have sizeable numbers of 'guiris' among their residents. The incomers have integrated to varying degrees. Some have become elected councillors in their municipalities, others run thriving businesses, many are retired. Some simply seek sun, sangria and s*x and make no attempt to integrate, happy with their English beer and breakfasts, their German beer and Wurst.



Montejaque, a small pueblo blanco in the Ronda mountains of inland Málaga province, is a case in point, although only four per cent of the registered population is foreign.

Montejaque has a registered population of less than 1000. Of those approximately 40 are foreigners. Another 40 or so are property-owners in the village but live in other countries.

Astonishingly, for such a small place, the range of nationalities represented is very wide, from Asia to Zimbabwe, from the European Union to North America, from Eastern Europe to New Zealand.

Added to that, many Spanish who live and work elsewhere, eg in Málaga, Marbella, San Pedro and Sevilla, have holiday or inherited family homes here.


The housing market

The property market is buoyant again post-economic crisis and post-pandemic, with between 40 and 50 properties having been bought and sold in the village in 2022 alone!

There are two estate agencies with offices located in Montejaque and several others, including one independent, who are active in the area.

Mayor Diego Sánchez is delighted: “For several decades the village has benefited hugely from the investment in old properties here by the British, German, Dutch and other northern Europeans. In the last couple of years, immigrants hail from further afield, eg North America and the Antipodes.”

Mayor Sánchez is also pleased at the level of integration and participation in village activities. “Our foreign community contributes hugely to the life of the village, taking part in fiestas, contributing to the local economy and making constructive suggestions for improvements. Some of the men also 'carry the Virgin' during religious processions.”


The foreign community

Montejaque has become quite cosmopolitan in nature. To this writers’ knowledge the following nationalities are represented in the village: American, Canadian, Dutch, English, French, German, Gibraltarian, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, New Zealanders, Polish, Scottish, South African, Zimbabwean.

There are two American couples who have recently moved to Montejaque on a permanent basis. Apparently, our American cousins no longer want to live in a post-Trump USA. A third couple, Paul and Dana from Texas, have a house here which is an official vivienda rural (holiday rental) until they eventually retire here.

Much-travelled Carolyn and Kevin are English but hold Canadian passports from the time they lived there. Their children and grandchildren still live in Canada. Carolyn and Kevin moved here to live in 2012, when Kevin retired from his job in South Africa.

Canadian Caroline L has lived in Spain, France, Italy and Spain again, for the last year or so in Montejaque. An engineer, she can work remotely. A born linguist, she speaks English (with a Canadian accent), Spanish, French and Italian.

Two Dutch couples bought property in the village in 2022 and a Dutch teacher, Erwin, in 2021. None live here permanently, although Anja and Ronald intend to move here permanently in a couple of years. Both can work from Spain; Anja intends to start a catering business and Ronald will continue to work as a truck driver. Iwo and Katja are still relatively young and have their careers elsewhere, but they are often to be seen in the village.

The English are probably the most-represented nationality in Montejaque. The residents hail from places as far afield as Birmingham, Brighton, Cheshire, Devon, Essex, Greater Manchester, Hastings, Liverpool, Portishead (Bristol) and Yorkshire. Most are retired but some dabble in property development, house sales, offer “fixing” and translation services or are engaged in tourism activities.

Jill, from Manchester, moved to Spain over 20 years ago. With husband Bill, they bought an ecological farm in Yunquera but decided to live in Montejaque. Sadly Bill died suddenly in 2009, but Jill continued to run the farm for several years. She has since sold it and recently has got together with long-time friend, retired English bobby John, a Scotsman with a house in Montejaque who has finally, despite some difficulties as a result of Brexit, become a resident.

Tony and Lynne from Hastings moved here just before the pandemic. They have two houses. They live in one and rent the other.

Steve and Rosie, from Lymm in Cheshire, had a holiday home here and got trapped here by the pandemic lockdown. They enjoyed life in Montejaque during those two years that they are now virtually full-time residents.

Mike and Chris sold their thriving restaurant and pub portfolio in Portishead and moved to Montejaque in 2022. They are early retirees who enjoy an active life hiking, running, skiing and so on. Mike is not so active at the moment, however, as he broke his shoulder whilst snowboarding in France earlier in 2023.

Steve and Margaret retired here some five years ago. They sold their original house in the village recently and bought another, higher up in the old part.

Andrew and Tracy are still young enough to have to work. They have rental properties in Ronda and Gaucín but live in Montejaque.

Early retirees Jane and Colin bought a lovely villa with pool and almond orchard at the entrance to the village. They have now clocked up seven or eight years as residents.

Other English residents are Fiona and Ray from Cheshire and June and her husband Ian from Derby.

Paul has been resident since 2008. He fell in love with a local German lady, emigrated soon afterwards, married his “girl” and the rest is history. Paul, a graduate in Spanish and former teacher and school inspector, offers a variety of services including translation, “fixing”, home-finding and holiday accommodation. He also operates two websites: and

There are a couple of French property owners. Brigitte and husband Pedro own Casitas de la Sierra, a luxury “holiday resort” of nine houses round a swimming pool with private gardens. I haven’t met the other French folk yet.

The foreigner who has clocked up most years in Montejaque is octogenarian German, Elke. A pioneer property developer, back when Montejaque was in danger of dying, she bought, did up and and sold dozens of dilapidated properties in the upper Moorish part of the village. She retains a portfolio of rental properties in this part of the village.

There are other Germans too. For example, Rita, a retired intensive care nurse, came to Montejaque as a tourist 20 years ago from twin town Knittlingen, where hundreds of montejaqueños had gone to work in the 60s and 70s. She fell in love with the village and bought an old house on the second day of her visit! She had it “reformed” and she moved in two years later. She still has the house, Casa Rita, which is now a luxury holiday rental, although she now lives in Ronda with her husband of 12 years, the afore-mentioned Paul.

Isolde, another German immigrant, has lived in Spain for many years, at first on the coast in San Pedro de Alcántara and latterly in Montejaque.

Gibraltarian David and his English wife Sue alternate between the village and their home on the Rock.

There are two Hungarians, mother and daughter Judit and Krisztina from Budapest. They are currently renting an apartment in the village. Both teach English to Spanish adults and children and Judit organises lifestyle retreats.

The Irish have had a long tradition in the village. Longest serving is Pauline, married to a Spanish local for many years. Some Irish folk have moved back to Ireland because of old age and health issues. Another, Freida, moved away to Mallorca for several years but is now back in the area and living in Ronda. She is a trained TEFL teacher. Aisling and English partner Rick bought a house here in 2022, which they are currently doing up.

Two young Italians bought a house in the village last year. Manuela, a former CNN journalist, now a lifestyle coach, and husband Biagio, a chef, lived previously in Alicante but sought a quieter life in Andalucía, first of all in Tarifa (Cádiz) and then in Montejaque. Both are fluent Spanish speakers.

Michael left South Africa aged 18 because he couldn't stand apartheid. After spells in the UK and the USA, he finally settled in Spain, where he has lived for over 30 years. Before moving to the mountains he lived in Estepona and Benahavis, where he was a successful entrepreneur. After a spell living on his finca in Benaojan, Michael is now settled in Montejaque. A fluent Spanish speaker he does a bit of house- and pet-sitting, although he's officially retired (he's nearly as old as I am!). 

Scotsman George is married to Zimbabwean Jill. They have lived in Montejaque for donkey’s years and enjoy the quiet, relaxed Andalucía lifestyle.


Non-resident foreigners

New Zealander Richard bought a house in Montejaque in 2022, with a view to moving here eventually. I haven’t met Richard yet, but we are firm Facebook friends and keep in touch regularly. From his photos on Facebook, he clearly likes a drink, so he should fit in very well!

My next-door neighbours are Polish. Robert and Edita bought the house at the beginning of 2022 and plan to move here eventually. They apparently have Polish friends who are also keen to invest in the village. Watch this space.

Other non-residents who own property in Montejaque include Brenda and Jeremy (both retired); Patricia (painter) and Ian (retired) from Derbyhshire; Erika (translator) and Michael (university professor), Kristel (writer) and Heino (artist), and Jason (antiquarian bookseller) and Anne (teacher) all from Berlin; Melanie (travel agent), Angie (record producer), Maxine and Richard (both retired) from England; Sandra (retired) from Wales; and Jutta (German artist). 

Caroline H (photographer) and Will have two houses in the village. Casa de la Roca is available to rent, Casa Rincón is for sale at a great price (contact A1 Holidays and A1 Inmobiliaria respectively - details below).



Many of the guiris are active in the life of the village. Carolyn, mentioned earlier, jointly compiled a bi-lingual recipe book with local Spanish friend Victoria, and Carolyn and Kevin both participate eagerly in local fiestas.

Steve, from Northern England, and Mike, from “dahn sarf”, help to carry the Virgin on parades on religious days, eg Easter. Steve is also an occasional DJ at the Hotel Palacete de Mañara. These discos are popular with the foreigners and locals.

There are several artists, two from Scotland, one from Yorkshire and a couple from Germany, all of whom just love the bright natural light of Andalucía. Helen, a Scottish sculptress, donated the metal goat which has pride of place in front of the Town Hall. Another Scot, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a property developer, who incorporates her artistic designs into the furniture and décor of her houses.

A few others contribute to tourism in Montejaque by running holiday rental homes.

Others keep themselves to themselves and are enjoying their retirement.

Of the 40 permanent residents, perhaps half a dozen are fluent Spanish speakers. A good number of the others attend weekly classes in Spanish offered free-of-charge by the local council. The rest get by, one way or another.


So, Montejaque, cosmopolitan and international, yet small and beautiful and wonderfully traditional. If you haven’t visited, please do!


Further reading:

What is a guiri? It's what the Spanish call us foreigners - but is it good or bad? (



Holiday accommodation:

Casa Montejaque - Paul on (+34) 636 52 75 16 (English, French, German, Spanish)

Casa La Paloma –Kathryn on (+44) 7769 885996 (English, French, German, Spanish)

Casa Pinzón - Kathryn on (+44) 7769 885996 (English, French, German, Spanish)

Casa Rita - Paul on (+34) 636 52 75 16  (English, French, German, Spanish)

Casa de la Roca - (+34) 636 52 75 16  (English, French, German, Spanish)

Casitas de la Sierra – Pedro on (+34) 670 81 07 40 (English, French, Spanish)



Like 2


AOK said:
Saturday, April 15, 2023 @ 10:06 AM

………..But not very inclusive if they use the term ‘guiris’ (a derogatory term) to refer to others who have settled there, obtained residents status but are originally from other countries.

PablodeRonda said:
Sunday, April 16, 2023 @ 8:40 AM

Hi, AOK. Thanks for reading my article and for taking the trouble to make a comment.
However, I'm afraid you are quite wrong about the use of the term 'guiri'. Yes, it can be derogatory, but it is also a term of endearment or affection, rather like 'jock', 'taffy' or 'yank'. It all depends on the context.
I've researched this thoroughly and this led to my publication of an article on the subject. I listed the URL at the end of this post about Montejaque.
Please read it.

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